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Irish potato, White potato

Solanaceae Solanum tuberosum L.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

The potato is the most important vegetable of the world, being a staple food in all temperate climates. The plant is an annual, and is propagated by planting pieces of the underground tubers or enlarged stems. The top attains heights up to 2 feet or more, with fibrous, fleshy stems carrying a canopy of compound leaves up to 10 inches in length. The edible, starchy tubers are produced entirely underground. In cultivated varieties they may be smooth-skinned or russeted, oblong to near round, but usually somewhat flattened. Marketable size is generally 1.5 inch diameter up, and up to 6 inches or more in length.

Season, planting to harvest: About 4 months.

Production in the U.S.: About 19,000,000 tons.

Use: As cooked vegetable and processed as chips and other snack products. Also a source of edible starch. Culls or surplus fed to livestock.

Part of plant consumed: Tubers only, mainly with peel removed.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch